What is Responsive Classroom?
Responsive classroom is an effective approach to meeting the social, emotional and academic needs of your students. It is a way of organizing and managing your classroom by creating an environment that is conducive for teaching and learning. Building a strong classroom community, interactive modeling, teacher language and more are all powerful components of Responsive Classroom.
Teaches social skills
Building community and being comfortable with one another
Making friends and connections
Establishing routines, rules and expectations
Nipping focus and behavior issues early on
Morning Meeting is a 15-20 minute daily routine used to begin the school day. All classroom members gather in a circle to greet one another, listen and respond to each other’s news, practice academic and social skills, and look forward to the events in the day ahead. It serves as a transition from home to school, helps children feel welcome and known, and sets the tone for the day.
The Four Components
Greeting- Children greet each other by name, handshaking, hi-five, etc. with a smile and eye contact.
Share- Five students per day share some news of interest to the class and respond to each other with thoughtful questions/comments, practicing communication skills and learning about one another.
Group Activity- The whole class does a short fun activity together, building class cohesion through active participation.
Morning Message- Students develop language skills and learn about the events in the day ahead by reading and discussing a daily message posted on a chart.
Keep a ring of morning meeting greetings, group activities, and brain breaks.
Classroom rules are developed from students’ Hopes & Dreams discussion. In order for everyone to meet their hopes and dreams this year and to feel successful, the importance of rules in both a child’s life and an adult’s life is discussed. The class discusses which rules they should have in the classroom to maximize teaching, learning and success. There is a focus on rules that take care of individuals, each other and the classroom/school. The class decides upon the rules and takes ownership and understanding of them. The class then breaks into groups to illustrate what these rules should like in the classroom.
Breaking the Rules
Whenever a child breaks a rule or makes a mistake, the child is asked to take a break in class “Take a Break” chair. The student uses the “Take a Break” chair to think about their choices or actions and how they can “fix it”. When they are ready, they raise their hand and are welcomed back to rejoin the group. Later, the teacher may speak with the child about making good choices and following the classroom rules. The “Take a Break” chair is a non punitive approach for children to manage their behavior and regain control even when the smallest disturbances occur before it escalates. The ‘Take a Break” chair, or positive time out, has been named many things, The Chill Chair, Peace Out Chair, Think Chair, etc. The class could also name this as well.
Model what the students should do while in the Take a Break Chair. The student should be thinking about why they are in the chair, brainstorm ways to fix it and rejoin the group. When the students shows they are ready to rejoin the group then they may return. Sometimes may use a non verbal cue, a thumbs up or simply just when the student is ready are all acceptable ways for the student to return to the class activity.
If a child continues to be disruptive, cannot regain control or fix the behavior in the “Take a Break” chair, they are sent to a buddy teacher (another classroom teacher). The buddy teacher removes the student from our classroom to sit in their “Take a Break” chair. Sometimes it helps a child to be removed from the situation or setting to cool down before rejoining the group. When the child is ready, the buddy teacher will escort the child back to our classroom.
When a child disrupts the buddy teacher’s class and cannot regain control, then administration should be called, especially if this is an issue of safety and interference of learning for others. An administrator will escort the child to the office to discuss the issue and the child’s parents will be called. A conference will be held with all parties: administrator, teacher, parents and student.
All students are held accountable for their choices and actions. Logical consequences are a way of responding to misbehavior that is respectful of children and helps them take responsibility for their actions. Unlike punishment, the primary goal of logical consequences is to help children develop inner control by looking closely at their own behavior and learning from their mistakes. Logical consequences are related, respectful and reasonable. Making reparations gives children the opportunity to face and fix their mistakes.
If a child breaks another child’s pencil, the child who broke the pencil give the child their pencil.
A child may experience a loss of privilege if they are misusing supplies in our classroom.
A child may have time away from the group if they are unable to cooperate and is disruptive to the group.
Apology of Action
Sometimes saying “I am sorry” doesn’t always solve a problem of fix another’s hurt feelings. If a child calls another child a name, the teacher might suggest to the child who called the name to draw a happy picture for the other, make a list of nice things about that person or include them in a friendly game to make up for the name calling and hurt feelings. This makes the child responsible for their actions as well as fixing their behavior.
An effective way for teaching procedures and routines
Do not assume that students know the expectations in your classroom. The first six weeks of school are crucial for establishing rules, routines and procedures from walking in the hallway to using classroom materials.
Using the following interactive modeling scripts during the first six weeks of school is a classroom management technique that is worth your time. After, you will be able to teach with and your students will be ready to learn.
Don’t Assume, always model first!!! Be sure to model all routines and procedures from how to use classroom supplies, to how to use the restroom pass, to how to ask for help.
Teach Expected vs Unexpected Behaviors- What it looks like and sounds like
Expected behaviors in the cafeteria
Expected behaviors at lunch
Expected behavior at recess
Expected behaviors in the restroom
Expected behaviors when there is a guest teacher
Expected behaviors on the bus
Expected behaviors on a field trip
An effective use of language to enable students to engage in their learning and develop the academic, social, and emotional skills they need to be successful in and out of school.
Use these cheat sheets for Teacher Language. You’ll be a pro in no time!
Book Faves for the RC Teacher
Go to the Resources page to find these books.